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Colombia-Venezuela border scheduled to reopen

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Colombia-Venezuela border scheduled to reopen

The Colombia-Venezuela border reopens after the restoration of diplomatic relations following the election of Colombian President Gustavo Petro.
Photo: Carlos Eduardo Ramirez/Reuters

Colombia and Venezuela are today set to fully reopen their shared 1,370-mile land border to cargo transport as well as resume commercial flights. 

In 2018, Colombia, under former President Ivan Duque, withdrew recognition of Nicolas Maduro as Venezuela’s legitimate president. In 2019, Maduro severed Venezuela’s diplomatic relations with Colombia. Duque’s successor, leftist President Gustavo Petro, restored diplomatic relations in August. Venezuela first imposed restrictions on commercial crossings following 2015 border tensions. 

A restoration of travel ties is the latest rapprochement effort by Petro. Expect the move to be highly criticized by Colombia’s Western allies—particularly the United States—as further recognition of Maduro’s claim to power. Bogota and Caracas will defend the move as both economically and diplomatically beneficial; Caracas claims a fully reopened border will create $4 billion in trade. 

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In the medium-term, friendly Venezuelan-Colombian relations help legitimize Maduro and effectively reject claims that his government is authoritarian and has contributed to the country’s humanitarian crisis. They will only add to the already-weakened international sanctions regime against Venezuela caused by market demand for non-Russian oil and may inspire other Latin American countries with burgeoning leftist movements—including Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil—to move closer to normalizing ties. 

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